Exploring Baltimore

Sorry for my week-long hiatus from the blog! I don't know what happened but this week I've been flat-out exhausted--struggling to stay awake at work and then crawling into bed right after dinner... as someone that eats dinner at 5 pm, this is a real accomplishment.

I assume baby is in the middle of a growth spurt and is zapping all my energy, so I'll just use that as my excuse! We're at 25 weeks this week, and I always find it shocking how big he is compared to a fruit (we use the Bump app and it is so cute!) Last week he was as big as a cantaloupe... that'll be fun for child birth ;)

So, I've been dying to share last weekend's adventure with you all: Baltimore! We decided to play tourist again with a city close by, and decided last minute on Baltimore, only about an hour away from the city.

We were originally planning on heading down to Richmond, but Evan's favorite brewery was closed for a special event and God forbid we make a trip down there without a beer stop... and THEN we were set on Charlottesville but had trouble justifying the time spent in the car, and thank goodness we didn't go.

[We were shocked and saddened by the events in Charlottesville, a sentiment shared by hundreds of millions of people across the country... Thankfully, that day of violence seems to be behind us, and we can only hope that it stays that way. If you live in Charlottesville, I hope you and your loved ones are safe!]

We set off for Baltimore bright-ish and early-ish, but were timing it so we could make a stop at Ikea on the way there to get some ideas for the baby's room and a new, cheap couch to replace our dog-chewed custom couch (yes, our chocolate lab puppy is a menace when it comes to furniture, and we learned the hard way not to invest heavily in nice couches!)

Side note, this was our Friday date night: happy hour burgers and endless fries at Requin in Mosaic District! (this is their 10 dollar happy hour special... and so juicy and amazing)

Okay, so off to Ikea! We got there right when it opened up, which is surprisingly rush hour on a weekend, I suppose there is no way around it...

I love Ikea, it always reminds me of that 500 Days of Summer rom-com movie scene.. except our experience was completely different: me and Evan blitzed through there and were ALL business. We were in and out in about an hour, no stops at the food court either!

We found some cute ideas, but decided to hold off on furniture until we move next month (I know, moving two months before the baby is born, great timing... but we really needed a bigger place!)

We were starting to get hungry around 11:00 am, so we grabbed $1 hot dogs on the way out the door to tide us over until we could make it to our first stop in Baltimore. Quite the snack..

After a about 30 minutes, we were heading into the Baltimore skyline--ps it was supposed to rain all day but we lucked out...

The first stop on our agenda was the Peabody Library. The library opened in 1866, thanks to a generous $300,000 donation by George Peabody, and is still operating as a research institution as part of John's Hopkins library system today! If it looks familiar, the library served as a model for the Beauty and the Beast library (when Beast gifts Belle his collection of books). The architecture was amazing, and it was cool to see people studying, reading, and researching while we walked around.

Our next stop was lunch--we read that we had to go to Lexington Market, which is one of the oldest markets on the East Coast. It has been operating since 1782, although I'm sure the market we saw was markedly different :)

Upon entering, we were greeted by live music and large crowds, plus dozens of food vendors serving up a variety of cuisines! We had one thing on our mind: crab cakes. So, we wandered around, looking for Faidley's Seafood, which is supposed to have the best lump crab cake in Maryland!

It became pretty obvious that this was THE place to be in the market, as there were long lines and an entire sub-section dedicated to the store. We stood in line and luckily beat the crowd because soon the line was out the door, probably 25 people deep! We were hungry (but mostly wanted to try a little of everything) and opted for one of their famous lump crab cakes (broiled, not fried) , clam chowder, and a side of onion rings! We didn't have to wait long to dive in...

Wow, it was insanely good. The crab cake was the clear favorite, and it was basically all meat and no filling--with the perfect seasoning. No sauces needed (or allowed, apparently!)

We left full and ready for our next adventure: the Baltimore Museum of Art. This is supposed to have one of the biggest modern art collections, with works from Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Warhol... the list just goes on and on. AND it is free!

The contemporary art section was the coolest, because it had all sorts of funky modern art installations that really pulled you in. We clearly had fun immersing ourselves into the pieces... The building itself also had architectural works of art built in! It was fabulous.

After a few hours, we were ready for our next stop: Federal Hill--a historic, very cute part of Baltimore that has shopping, history, food, and drinks... all of our favorite things! After a quick pick-me-up at a local coffee shop (half caf iced coffee for me!) and a bit of walking, Evan was starving and needed an early dinner...

Ryleigh's Oyster Bar was calling to him... specifically the beer list and the crab dip. Who am I to say no to skillet crab dip?! We ordered grilled oysters to go along with our appetizer-dinner, and Evan got a pretty tasty IPA to cool down a bit..

We polished off almost everything, with maybe a bite or two left from the dip. Then we set off to walk around inner harbor for people watching--it is definitely the more touristy part of Baltimore, home to the National Aquarium and massive stores like Hard Rock and Ripley's Believe it or Not.

Naturally, my sweet tooth hit, and we headed to Little Italy on the way to Inner Harbor. Our detour took us to Vaccaro's--a popular Italian sweets shop! Excuse the blurry photos below... I was only a tad excited.

We got an assortment of small cookies and a mini-cannoli to split! The italian wedding cooking and the cannoli cookie were our favorites!

Then we set off to digest and walk around the harbor! Storm clouds were moving in quickly, which was a nice relief from the hot sun... but it was definitely a gamble to walk rather than drive around the rest of the night..

Our walking took us to our last adventure: Fell's Point. Another cute part of town, with old historic town homes, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and a mix of new buildings--it looks like their really developing the area. It reminded me a lot of Annapolis!

Naturally, we needed another beer stop, and headed to Max's Taphouse, which promised hundreds of awesome beers on tap... the selection did not disappoint. I had a few sips of Evan's drinks throughout the night, and I think my favorite was the Strawberry Rhubarb Gose. Such a perfect summer drink!

We played two rounds of beer cap checkers, which was so fun! Evan creamed me the first round and I kicked his butt the second...

Then we got lost in a few hours of conversation--baby planning, life... you know, the big stuff. Of course while we were chatting, we got caught in a huge downpour and decided to wait it out until it was reasonable to trek the mile or so back to our car!

We wrapped it up and headed home--avoiding minor flooding along the way :)
Another successful weekend trip! Thanks for letting me share it with you...


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